Archive for February, 2019

10 Smart Ways to Secure Your Smart Devices against Hacks

February 28th, 2019

“Smart” devices are beginning to dominate the market due to their ease of use, intuitive designs and scale of application. Many homes today are filled with interconnected devices, from phones and tablets to security systems and kitchen appliances. With so much ease of connectivity, though, also comes vulnerability.

So what should consumers know about Internet of Things (IoT) cyber security to help protect their devices from being hacked? How can they proactively prevent potential hacking? To help answer those questions, 10 members of Forbes Technology Council share their best methods for protecting smart devices.

  1. Connect IoT Devices to a Guest Network

Many consumer Wi-Fi access points support separate guest networks. Keep your desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones, network-attached storage and printer on your private network. Then, connect all of your IoT devices to your guest network to isolate them from your private network. This action also provides a single chokepoint on which to disable internet access should any devices get hacked. – Steve Pao, Hillwork, LLC

  1. Limit the Information You Provide

Consumers don’t realize that in the fine print of many “I agree” consents is the ability for those services to sell or give away information to third parties. Of course, we want the benefits of smart devices, but only give the bare minimum of information and have secure passwords to limit vulnerability. A form may ask for your address and date of birth, but if not asterisked, it is not needed. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales

  1. Don’t Ignore Updates

New IoT device vulnerabilities are uncovered literally every day. However, most of us ignore seemingly bothersome update prompts from our devices: it often feels easier to just click the “remind me later” option. Nevertheless, updates are important to get the latest vulnerability patches. Known vulnerabilities are easy targets for hackers, so make sure to take updates as soon as they are available. – Paul Lipman, BullGuard

  1. Use Multiple Authentication Layers

Use multiple authentication layers on the main network hub for the devices as well as for each device. It’s important to put up as many barriers as possible so hackers will look elsewhere. – Jon Bradshaw, Calendar

  1. Don’t Use Default Settings

Security is a critical factor in today’s information technology environment. One of the key components in making at-home IoT devices secure is to change any default usernames and passwords on the router in conjunction with a guest network setup. The router is the first line of defense and must not contain any default settings, as this leaves the door open for opportunistic hackers. – Maria Clemens, Management and Network Services, LLC

  1. Turn off Vampire Features

IoT devices in your home often come with a wide variety of optional “vampire” features sucking resources and increasing risk. In many cases, these features are turned on by default and you might not know it. Not only can these features have a negative impact on bandwidth, but they can potentially lead to security and privacy risks. Turn off what you don’t need. Harden your IoT devices. – Brian Contos, Verodin Inc.

  1. Secure the Perimeter

Most IoT devices do not have embedded security. Security is not a priority for device manufacturers. As a consumer, the best thing you can do is secure the perimeter of your home network. You can reduce your risk by securing and encrypting your wireless network, removing guest account access on your router and using strong passwords. Also consider creating a separate network to isolate IoT devices. – Frank Palermo, Virtusa

  1. Do Your Research

It’s important to take basic precautions such as keeping your passwords private, changing them often and using tool sets that enable you to choose a strong password. Make sure that the devices you’re purchasing are secured by the manufacturer. Before buying, do quick research to see if devices have gone through security testing or if there are stories about how easy the devices are to hack. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

  1. Treat Security as A Process

The IoT asks that consumers be as vigilant in protecting their devices and data as their most diligent corporate counterparts. Put bluntly, don’t do stupid stuff. In cyber security terms, don’t leave your doors unlocked. Select tough passwords and change them often. Don’t poach your neighbor’s Wi-Fi network. Read the manual (seriously). Treat security as a process, not an event. – Adam Stern, Infinitely Virtual

  1. Don’t Let Convenience Make You Forget Security

We worked on both sides of the story: in a security software company and in a company creating a wearable/IoT device for consumers. In the personal experience and through watching friends and family using IoT devices we saw one concerning pattern repeating itself over and over again: Convenience won over security—as soon as a device provided a lot of value, security got forgotten. – Eric Trabold, Nexkey, Inc.

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes technology Council.


Eight Methods to Prioritize Your Project Slate and Boost Productivity

February 22nd, 2019

Entrepreneurs wear many hats as they deal with not only the expected projects, but also the unexpected challenges that arise every day at their budding companies. As a company evolves and grows, so too do the demands on an entrepreneur to oversee all of the moving pieces, making sure the entire company is moving toward a cohesive goal. The demands on an entrepreneur’s time all too often result in the feeling of being pulled in a million different directions at once—sometimes paralyzing progress as one wonders what to tackle first.

To remain productive and find success, entrepreneurs must find a method to focus and prioritize tasks. These methods can differ from company to company and person to person depending on what the business demands and each entrepreneur’s unique style. It’s important to explore options to find the one that works best for you.  To help, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their own surefire methods to prioritize projects and boost productivity.

  1. Apply the ‘First Fruits’ Method

You will make 35,000 decisions each day. Some are conscious, and many are unconscious. The idea of “first fruits” is that we give our best, not our leftovers, to what is the most important to us. Navigating 35,000+ decisions each day is overwhelming, and our main priorities are lost. To remain focused, start with fixing the first two hours of your day. Devote the most uninterrupted, focused time to the most important objectives and key results you are working toward. During this time remove all distractions, including phones, emails and media. Be intentional about your environment, including light and even aspects such as sound or music. Remember, this is your best time and no one else’s. The fruit from planting seeds consistently during this time will grow success in all areas of your life. – Caroline Beckman, Nouri Life

  1. Do the Hard Stuff First

We’ve found that if we are not careful, the time is spent putting out small fires and handling mini-tasks that could either be done more efficiently or done by someone else. Then the important, difficult tasks wind up getting pushed off indefinitely—after all, there are always small tasks to take care of. However, if we block off an hour or two in the morning to dive into the bigger project that we’ve been dreading, we are able to get into a rhythm. The project can then be divided into smaller tasks and completed as needed. And because it’s still the morning, there’s plenty of time in the afternoon to take care of the small chores and deal with anything urgent that came up over the course of the day. – Jacob Drucker, Supply Clinic

  1. Embrace the Kanban Method

If you have teams working for you, then the Kanban method could be for you. Kanban is a Japanese term for “visual signal.” It has been used in the manufacturing process at companies like Toyota. Kanban works by visualizing the flow of work, tapping into the fact we process images 60,000 times faster than words. For example, you could use a “card” or “token” for each task and place them with the relevant team. As the task progresses, it moves through the different stages. It holds everyone accountable, increases efficiency and gets things done. There are tools out there that offer this approach, like Trello or Atlassian. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International

  1. Understand Severity and Priority

A concept well known in quality assurance may effectively be applied in entrepreneurship. Software defects are qualified with two labels: “severity” and “priority.” Severity is related to the overall impact and risk of the bug. Priority is the consecutive queue for executing ongoing tasks. Severity and priority appear as intertwined, but they are not necessarily. A low-severity problem may be raised to top priority in case of additional opportunities or hidden risks. This is a managerial decision and often involves multiple layers of command, including legal, accounting and the board of directors. Entrepreneurs should apply a quantifiable decision-making matrix that ranks severity and priority for seamless execution. Adopting this model speeds up iterations and effectively maximizes the outcome. – Mario Peshev, DevriX

  1. Focus On Revenue-Generating Activities

The focus has always been on identifying what’s going to generate the revenue and prioritizing it over anything else. Of course, many would say, “How do you find work-life balance with that method?” You can if you focus on revenue-generating activities for a few days a week, while the rest of the week can be for leisure or family time. For example, Monday through Thursday, the biggest focus is on how to save the company money and increase the bottom line. We try to understand the value each and every person is bringing to us and how we can make them more productive. Instead of focusing a lot on public relations, which is a long-term play, we are more focused on learning about our customers through a survey process. This will help us win loyalty, which is more important than acquisition in the long run. – Sweta Patel, Startup Growth Mode

  1. Be ‘Ruthless’ and Delegate

We subscribe to Sheryl Sandberg’s idea of ruthless prioritization. As a business owner, it’s critical that we make the tough calls. Look at what’s on your plate and decide which projects you will devote your time and attention to. Once you’ve done so, trust your team to carry out the rest. Make sure that top priorities and individual responsibilities are clearly communicated, and then trust your employees to make decisions accordingly. Trusting your employees and giving them the power to call some shots is highly motivating and generally leads to employee growth and increased accountability. If you’re hiring the right people, you should be able to delegate responsibility and decision-making authority to them. – Stephen Beach, Craft Impact Marketing

  1. Use the 80/20 Principle

In the long run, the most important thing is executing and accomplishing the big goals you set for yourself and your company. As such, you should be devoting most of your time to making serious progress on these projects. However, to do that effectively and run the company as a whole, there will be smaller, less critical but still highly important day-to-day tasks that will need your attention. We find the sweet spot to be devoting 80% of the time to accomplishing the long-term, big project goals through the highest leverage activities possible and 20% to the important day-to-day tasks that are needed to keep things running smoothly. Everything else should ideally get automated, systematized or handed off to someone else on your team to follow through on so you can stay in the genius zone. – Justin Faerman, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine

  1. Leverage Task Management Software

It’s easy to become flustered as a manager when there are all kinds of issues that only you can handle. When your employees are coming at you from every direction with ideas, complaints and feedback, it’s also easy to forget what you have to do to keep your business running smoothly. Prioritizing certain tasks over others becomes imperative, but without a clear idea of what’s on your plate, this all becomes much harder to accomplish. Task management software like Asana should be used to organize your tasks however you see fit. Asana offers powerful team collaboration features like accessible calendars, assigning tasks and subtasks to employees with due dates, adding followers, and much more. This makes it easier for you to delegate tasks and for employees to see when you’re swamped. – Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Young Entrepreneur Council.





13 Common Business Tech Investments That May Soon Be Obsolete

February 13th, 2019

Every year, new technologies are released, many of which have the potential to completely change the way in which businesses operate. Yet, not all new technologies are a fit for your company, and some new tech may actually be obsolete before the investment can pay off.

Which business tech, whether upcoming or currently on the market, may be obsolete before it pays for itself? To gain insider advice, we asked members of Forbes Technology Council to share their thoughts.

  1. On-Premise Hosting and Data Centers

Investment in technology related to on-premise infrastructure or self-hosted data center compute that is not directly leading you to migrating these to the cloud is probably money wasted. With cloud solutions getting cheaper, faster, and more nimble and secure than self-managed and self-hosted ones, investment should be heavily focused on migrating older infrastructure to the cloud in order to reduce technical debt. – Ian Amit, Cimpress

  1. The Security Hamster Wheel

Security owns a strange place in IT operations and investment. Off-the-shelf security products are invariably immediately out-of-date yet still required to mitigate, or at least minimize, a volume of the threats facing organizations today. As such, organizations must continue to reassess and reinvest in security processes, tools and talent to navigate today’s ever-changing threat landscape. – Chris Rommel, VDC Research

  1. Black Box Testing

Some enterprises use annual disaster recovery drills as a way of validating their resilience strategy. These drills require a lot of preparation, investment and technology, but they typically fail, because such “Black Box Testing” cannot tolerate today’s high levels of ongoing change. You need to invest in a proactive approach that can detect the risks before they cascade into an outage. – Gil Hecht, Continuity Software

  1. Intranet Platforms

We see many organizations looking to develop in-house intranets as social portals or communication platforms. These efforts are derailed by too many priorities, and employees ultimately gravitate to more contemporary productivity tools. Having a well-curated ecosystem of third-party point solutions around collaboration, workplace culture and communications is a quicker and more productive approach. – Doug Claffey, Energage

  1. Blockchain Technology

Many companies have been trying to add blockchain to their tech infrastructure when it’s not needed. The last few years of blockchain hype have led people to ignore actual technological necessity: Many tasks that companies are solving today with complex blockchain solutions could be solved with more conventional approaches and a faster return on investment. – Artem Petrov, Reinvently

  1. Data Lakes

There has been a massive wave of investment in “data lakes”—large data warehouses that collect all of a business’ data into one place. However, cloud technology is accelerating so quickly that a data lake created today will be obsolete in a year as faster, better data storage platforms become available. The large investment now will become a liability in the future. – Sean Byrnes, Outlier AI

  1. Enterprise Resource Planning

The promise of ERP implementations: lower cost, increased business coordination and agility driven through the roof! The actuality of ERP implementations: increased licensing costs over time, a diminishing pool of vendors and data islands. Is this a factor of the software or the org and culture? I would venture to guess a bit of both A and B. Instead, focus on atomic business processes and tools. – David Espinosa, ITS Logistics

  1. Scaled Agile Framework

Investing in Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) can be part of a continuous improvement and delivery system, but ROI may not be worthwhile. Incomplete tasks get reprioritized during backlog grooming, which delays functionality. Then add the expense of agile software, SAFe training and cross-functional support. Ultimately, a non-agile approach might yield the same results. – Brian Patrick, GREENLIGHT Inc.

  1. AI (Or What We Think Is ‘AI’)

AI is evolving fast. AI was the rage in 2018 and will continue to hold everyone’s fascination in 2019. Companies are making hasty and heavy investments to acquire AI startups, technology platforms and new talent to “check the AI box and mark it done.” The myopic approach to AI is reminiscent of the dot-com days when almost everyone got e-commerce wrong and those left standing had to start over. – Apurva “Apu” Kumar, LotaData, Inc.

  1. 4G Technology

Companies that are releasing mobility solutions that are optimized for 4G and LTE experiences are at grave risk of not seeing an appropriate ROI. These solutions aren’t being future-proofed for the opportunities that the rollout of 5G hyperspeed data connectivity is going to bring to industries of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds and will be perceived as archaic by the consumer. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

  1. Small To Midsize Routers

The reason that most routers are unnecessary is that Layer 3 switches have come down so much in price that you can replace a few switches at the top of the stack and achieve all of the routing capability needed, as well as improve throughput dramatically in the network. This is true if your compute systems are on premises or in the cloud. There still needs to be connectivity internally and externally. – Michael Meyer, MRS BPO, LLC

  1. Desktop Phones, Call Centers

Today we only have phones in conference rooms, and nobody has complained in two years. Call centers are being replaced by chat bots. Supply chain logistics are better done at scale by third parties right now. Webex and even Skype are archaic and a waste of money. Better, cheaper solutions are available. – Kamal Ahluwalia, Eightfold AI, Inc.

  1. Hardware Devices

Most companies still purchase too many hardware devices when in reality they don’t need them. Expensive networking equipment and even servers are not always necessary. Most equipment nowadays can be replaced by migrating to the cloud. Plus, expensive hardware will definitely be obsolete sooner than later. – Ivailо Nikolov, SiteGround

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council.